The leader of the world's Anglicans branded the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay an "extraordinary legal anomaly" on Sunday and said it set a dangerous precedent for dictators around the world.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual leader of 77 million Anglicans, also described Islamist extremism as "appalling" and terrorism as "an insult to God and man."
"I think what we've got in Guantanamo is an extraordinary legal anomaly ... creating a new category of custody," Williams said in an interview with BBC television in Sudan during a visit there with the United Nations World Food Programme.
"These are people who don't have the sort of legal access we would probably assume to be important," he said, referring to the nearly 500 foreigners held at the naval base in Cuba.
"Any message given that any state can just override some of the basic habeas corpus-type provisions is going to be very welcome to tyrants elsewhere in the world, now and in the future," Williams said.
"What, in 10 years time, are people going to be able to say about a system that tolerates this?"
The Anglican Church has frequently joined human rights groups is condemning the indefinite detentions and lack of legal rights for prisoners at the camp.
Only 10 Guantanamo detainees have been formally charged with a crime and U.N. rights investigators have urged Washington to close the camp.
Former detainees, lawyers representing inmates and U.N. human rights investigators have accused the United States of using torture at Guantanamo, a charge denied by the Pentagon.
It's so stupid for the Pentagon to deny they're torturing people. We all know that they're doing it. President Bush even had is so-called "signing statement" that he claims exempts him from the law condemning torture. I guess it's the old propaganda rule: repeat a big lie often enough and long enough and it "becomes" the truth. It is, of course, unspeakably revolting.